Visual merchandising and shop design play a significant role in the experience of a customer, as is evident from the amount of effort established brands invest in research. Retailers have long since investigated the optimum designs for their individual stores, experimenting with various furniture and aesthetics to not only please customers and complement brand identity but also to improve sales.
While suitable and successful designs manifest differently in each concept and on each high street, there are a number of essential aspects that should be implemented in each brick-and-mortar store, as well as considered for each retail pop-up. These steps have been accepted by the retail industry as key design choices that ultimately benefit the brand.
You may have heard the term decompression zone as it is one of the most widely celebrated features in retail design. This area sits between the entrance of a shop and its interior, a space of transition that allows customers who enter from the outside to adjust their senses to the inside space.
This may sound like a simple or even non-essential consideration, one that may cost valuable shop space, but for the customer, it is required. The transition from outside to inside is a significant change in environment and if customers are not given the opportunity to adjust themselves to a new environment, they are far more likely to turn around and leave.
The optimum route a customer can take through a shop space has long been contested. Many settle on the idea that it is important to maximise a customer’s exposure to products and displays, such as slatwall showcases, encouraging them to explore as much of a shop space as possible with maximised routes. However, some retailers have found that such floorplans also have the tendency to frustrate customers. For best results, consider your product and whether customers are more likely to value efficiency or brand immersion.
Highlighting certain products, especially at eye level, is an effective way to not only promote specific offers in a shop space but also raise the quality of all shop products. These hero products, those that a placed in prime positions, not only help to orientate customers who will use them as place markers, but also champion a shop’s aesthetic appeal.
If a customer is drawn to certain displays and hero products, they are likely to see the brand as a whole more positively. This appeal is also a great opportunity to advertise other products and offers in the same location too.
Rotation And Change
One consistently effective asset of shop design is change. Nothing in a shop space should be allowed to remain static for a long period of time. Window displays that host the same products for weeks, for example, ultimately lose their effectiveness as customers become acquainted with their design and no longer find them eye-catching.
This premise extends to displays and retail furniture in store too, which is why many successful retailers are now turning to modular display options, enabling them to create a flexible shop design that can be refreshed continuously.